Research in the lab focuses on understanding the genetic basis of emerging plant diseases caused by fungi. We are particularly interested in the evolutionary processes that contribute to population-level diversity, to the formation of new species, and to species diversification. We aim to uncover the genetic basis for differences in pathogenicity, virulence, and host specialization within species and among closely-related species. We want to understand differences between agricultural and natural populations of fungal plant pathogens and how agriculture shapes population structure and diversity. We use population genetics, population genomics, comparative genomics, and molecular phylogenetics to answer our questions.
Other interests include phylogeography, fungal mating systems, and using population genetics to solve epidemiological problems in the field including sources of inoculum, pathogen overwintering mode, populations overcoming host resistance, and the evolution of fungicide resistance.
November 15, 2014
Leilani Sumabat, MS student, wins oral presentation award
Leilani won third place for her presentation, "Host range and phylogenetic diversity of Corynespora cassiicola, cause of target spot of cotton in the southeastern USA," at the CAES Interdisciplinary Graduate Plant and Soil Symposium.
October 23, 2014
Jane Stewart, postdoctoral researcher, wins poster presentation award
Jane was awarded third place for her poster " Extreme genetic diversity in Exobasidium maculosum, an emerging pathogen of blueberry in the southeastern USA'" at the 2014 Fall Retreat of the UGA Plant Center at Unicoi State Park.